- Public Health Department
- Emergency Preparedness
Disasters can happen anywhere and at any time. Make sure you and your family are ready.
Sign up for the Massachusetts Alerts Smartphone App.
Emergency Preparedness Tips
- Be Informed - Receiving advance warnings for severe weather, timely emergency alerts, and information during a disaster is critical to staying safe during an emergency. Every family should have multiple methods for receiving emergency alerts, including at least one with an audible alert to wake you in the middle of the night.
- Make a Family Emergency Plan - It is critical that you create a family disaster plan to keep you and your family safe, protect your property, and build your community’s resilience. Develop a plan (PDF) with the members of your household to prepare for what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in an emergency. Be sure your plan addresses the special and/or medical needs for you and your family.
- Build an Emergency Kit- Having an emergency supply kit is an essential component of personal and family preparedness Emergency kits should include essentials items that will help sustain you and your family for up to three days in the event you are isolated in your home without power during disaster. First, think about essential items you will need for basic survival:
- Clean Air
- Medical Equipment
- Necessary Medications
Additionally, utilities and basic services such as electricity / gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days or weeks. Your supply kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages. Make sure your emergency kit is customized to meet the unique needs of your family.
- Get Involved - Build a more resilient community by getting involved and helping your community prepare for, respond to, and recover from the next disaster. There are many great opportunities to make important contributions including volunteering, donating, helping your neighbors, and being an active bystander.
One of the best ways to be prepared for disaster is to know where to receive alerts and warnings in the event of a disaster. Receiving timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. Below you’ll find links to ways of receiving alerts and warnings.
Town of Mansfield
The Town has an alert system and news system that will notify you via SMS text messaging or email of Town based alert notifications. You can find information on how to sign up here:
NOAA Weather Radio
The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, or NWR, is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting forecasts, warnings, and emergency information 24 hours a day. It is a comprehensive weather and emergency information service available to the public. All-hazards messages include weather events, technological incidents like chemical spills, AMBER alerts, and national emergencies. NWR also broadcasts EAS notices.
FEMA App for Android and iOS
Stay updated with severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the U.S.; learn how to stay safe before, during, and after over 20 types of hazards; save a custom list of the items in your family’s emergency kit; and locate and receive driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers. You can also submit disaster-related photos to a public map using the Disaster Reporter feature. The FEMA App is also available in Spanish. Download the app to your mobile device or smartphone free on iTunes or Google Play.
American Red Cross App for Android or iOS
The Red Cross Emergency app combines more than 35 different types of severe weather and emergency alerts. You can choose the alerts that are important to your location or the location of loved ones. The “Family Safe” feature allows you to notify loved ones that an alert has been issued in their area and check to see if they are safe. The app also offers information on what to do before, during, and after severe weather hits and how to find open Red Cross Shelters. All content is also available in Spanish. You can download the app to your mobile device or smartphone free on iTunes (Apple-iOS 6.0 or later) and Google Play (Android).
The Weather Channel App
Tracks weather and provides local forecasts and push alerts of severe weather to your mobile device.
Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Step 1: Put a plan together by discussing the questions below with your family, friends or household to start your emergency plan.
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
- Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?
- Check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and update my emergency plans due to Coronavirus.
- Get cloth face coverings (for everyone over 2 years old), disinfectants, and check my sheltering plan.
Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household.
As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets or specific needs like operating medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance. Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:
- Different ages of members within your household
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
- Households with school-aged children
Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan
Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use it as a guide to create your own.
Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household
- Practice makes perfect! Be sure to practice your plan with your family/household multiple times throughout the year.
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors.
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
- Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)
Additional Emergency Supplies
Since Spring of 2020, the CDC has recommended people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu.
Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:
- Cloth face coverings (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
- Prescription medications
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
- Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler's checks
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Maintaining Your Kit
After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:
- Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
- Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
- Replace expired items as needed.
- Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.
Kit Storage Locations
Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and cars.
- Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
- Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
- Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.
Disasters can leave children and teens feeling frightened, confused and insecure. Their responses can be quite varied. It's important to not only recognize these reactions, but also help children cope with their emotions.
Encourage dialogue and answer questions
Listen to your kids. Ask them about their feelings and validate their concerns. When they ask questions, give just the amount of information you feel your child needs.
Limit media exposure
Intense media coverage of disasters can frighten young children and disturb teenagers as well. If your children watch TV or use the internet, try to be available to talk with them and answer questions.
Make time for them and find support
Help kids understand that they are safe and secure by talking, playing, and doing other family activities with them. Build support networks with friends, family, and community organizations to help you cope, which can also help your children cope.
Keep to a routine
Help your children feel as if they still have a sense of structure, which can make them feel more relaxed. When schools and childcare open again, help children return to normal activities like going to class, sports, and play groups.
For many kids, reactions to disasters are short-term. But some children can be at risk for more long-term psychological distress. Three risk factors for this longer-lasting response are:
- Direct exposure to the disaster such as being evacuated, observing injuries of others, or experiencing injury.
- Loss/grief relating to the death or serious injury of family or friends.
- Ongoing stress from secondary effects, such as temporary housing, loss of social networks, loss of personal property, or parent's unemployment.
You can find resources, games, and helpful tips on disaster preparedness at Ready.gov/kids for kids, teens, families, and community organizers to learn more.
Click the link below for a free, downloadable activity book Prepare with Pedro: https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2019-06/prepare_with_pedro_activity_book_eng.pdf